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Niger president leads nation in celebrating 51 years of independence

08-04-2011 15:00 BJT

NIAMEY, Aug. 4 (Xinhua) -- Nigerien President Mahamadou Issoufou led his fellow countrymen in celebrating the country's 51st independence anniversary on Wednesday.

In his message to the nation, Issoufou asked Nigerien people to reconcile with each other and to remember the historical milestones that were achieved by earlier generations.

"The independence struggle was a historical moment that should forever remain in our collective memory," the Nigerien president said.

He hailed the noble struggle that was carried out by the African Democratic Rally (RDA) since its formation in 1946 in Bamako (Mali).

"The RDA put the emancipation of African people at the center of its political fight," Issoufou noted.

He also paid tribute to the country's "independence fathers" who include Diori Hamani, Djbo Bakary, Boubou Hama for the unrelenting struggle that they fought to ensure that Niger becomes an independent political entity in the international community.

"If the independence that was acquired some 51 year ago freed our country from colonialism, then the significance of a meeting that was held 31 years later in 1991 was that it marked the emergence of pluralism democracy, individual rights and freedoms and especially the freedom of association as well as free media," he said.

Niger obtained her independence on Aug. 3, 1960.

Issoufou was sworn in as the country's president on April 7, 2011 after democratic elections that were held to end a military transition period that lasted for 14 months.

Editor:Wang Xiaomei |Source: Xinhua

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